The NYC Regional Innovation Node (NYCRIN) is part of the National Innovation Network (NIN), a national network of NSF-funded researchers from I-Corps Teams, Sites, and Nodes.

NYCRIN ties the expertise of the City University of New York (CUNY), Columbia University, and New York University (NYU) to a network of over 25 leading universities in the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania area. Through this network, we work together to address America’s needs for innovation education, infrastructure, and research as well as providing state-of-the-art training for academic researchers and technologists through the National Science Foundation I-Corps program.

NYCRIN teaches the I-Corps course using the Lean Launchpad curriculum based on Steve Blank’s Customer Development methodology and Alex Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas. It demands that teams ‘Get out of the Building’, and spend the majority of their time talking to potential customers to discover how their technology could effectively ‘solve customers’ unmet needs or pain points.

The Lean Startup provides a scientific approach to creating and managing startups. Many startups begin with an idea for a product that they think people want, and spend months bringing their product to life, without the input of the prospective customer. Lean LaunchPad (LLP) is a hands-on program that immerses academic teams in testing their business model hypotheses outside the classroom. Through a flipped classroom, LLP deliberately trades off lecture time for student/teaching team interaction Lean LaunchPad uses the Customer Development process and the Business Model Canvas to collapse the infinite possibilities of a startup into a solvable problem.

There are 3 components of the I-Corps Program: Teams, Nodes and Sites.

I-Corps Teams

I-Corps Teams consist the principal investigator(s) (PI, an entrepreneurial lead (EL), and a mentor. The Entrepreneurial Lead ( EL ) is a postdoctoral scholar, graduate, or other student with relevant knowledge of the proposed technology and a deep commitment to investigating the commercial landscape surrounding the innovation. The Entrepreneurial Lead supports the transition of the technology should the I-Corps project demonstrate the potential for commercial viability. The Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for overall grant management. The I-Corps Mentor ( IM ) is typically an experienced or emerging entrepreneur who operates in proximity to the institution and is experienced in transitioning technology out of academic labs. The I-Corps Mentor is responsible for guiding the team forward and reporting on its progress through regular communication with the cognizant NSF I-Corps Program Director.

I-Corps Nodes

I-Corps Nodes serve as hubs for education, infrastructure and research that engage academic scientists and engineers in innovation; they also deliver the I-Corps Curriculum to I-Corps Teams.

I-Corps Sites

The I-Corps Sites are academic institutions that catalyze the engagement of multiple, local teams in technology transition and strengthen local innovation.

The NYCRIN I-Corps is a regional program, consisting of a network of 25 leading universities in the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. It supports regional needs for innovation education, infrastructure and research by providing state-of-the-art training for academic researchers and technologists through the National Science Foundation I-Corps program.

The NSF I-Corps program requires that the technology led by the faculty member (PI) have NSF lineage. The National Program provides $50K in grant money to complete the program and the cohorts are located throughout the country.

The NYCRIN team can help match you with a mentor based on your team’s field, experience, and group dynamic. Please contact us here for assistance. 

Regional I-Corps

  • Your technology should be a new, differentiating technology that is STEM related (preferably in the medical or engineering field).
  • The team should be affiliated with a university preferably within the NYCRIN area, though we have previously made exceptions for outstanding community teams beyond the NYCRIN region.
  • The technology should be at the proof-of-concept stage.
  • The team composition should include at least one EL, an IM, and the technology’s PI
  • The technology can be funded by any government agency but must be disclosed to the university’s Tech Transfer Office (TTO)

National I-Corps

  • Participants are eligible to apply for the National I-Corps Team program if they have NSF lineage 
  • Please see the NSF’s website for full eligibility criteria

Please apply through our online application. You will need to provide an executive summary including a brief description of your technology and predicted commercial impact as well as details of the team and technology disclosure status.

After this, NSF will schedule a conference call with your entire team. If the application and initial conference call go well, a second conference call with NSF will be held with your entire team along with members of the I-Corps National Teaching Team. If the second call goes well, your team will be invited to submit a proposal.

Please apply through our online application. You will need to provide an executive summary including a brief description of your technology and predicted commercial impact as well as details of the team and technology disclosure status.

After this, NYCRIN will schedule a conference call with your entire team. If the application and initial conference call go well, you team may be invited to join the cohort. NYCRIN reserves the right to request additional conference calls with the entire team if needed.

Please see eligibility requirements. If you are still uncertain, contact us here.

Both programs utilize the Lean Launchpad Methodology. However, I-Corps is strictly a NSF program. NIH programs require your team to have received either an SBIR or an STTR grant.

It depends.

If you are applying to the National I-Corps program, yes. The technology must have an NSF lineage through the PI. If the PI has an alternate NSF grant that is not related to the technology, the lineage does not qualify.

If you are applying to the Regional I-Corps program, you do not necessarily need a previous grant to apply, so long as the technology is STEM focused.

Generally, no. The team members own any intellectual property developed. We do however strongly recommend participants to speak with their Tech Transfer offices and/or patent attorneys prior to attending the program to better understand any university licensing and royalties issues.

Please contact us here with a brief introduction about yourself and expertise.

Please contact us here explaining your relevant experience as a mentor, executive and/or community leader.

Yes, NYCRIN would be happy to speak with you about your site application and how the node can support your university’s I-Corps program/ Please read through the NSF’s solicitation and then contact us here 

Please contact us here

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